Getting kitted-out

There are many pieces of kit available. The question is, what’s right for you?


efore getting your aircraft and/or yourself equipped for EC you need to spend a few moments to answer some key questions about your

operating environment and your objectives Initially your need to consider:

1. Do I want a portable system I can move from aircraft to aircraft, or do I want something that will be installed in a single aircraft?

2. If you are looking at a single aircraft then what equipment does it have already and what type of airworthiness regime does it operate under (eg EASA, LAA, BMA, BGA, etc)?

3. Do I want to be able to interoperate with existing EC that’s using non- ADS-B protocols, and if so which ones are most important to me?

Once you have the answers to these three questions you can go on to look at the three elements which need to be catered for when providing a ‘See and be seen’ EC solution. These are:

Transmit: How will I broadcast my position? Receive: How will I receive other aircraft position reports? Display: What’s the best way to display the information, and any resulting alerts, to the pilot?

As few fully integrated solutions are available you’ll typically need two or more devices to provide all three elements. The good news is that in many cases you may

already have equipment that can be used to fulfil some of the required functions. The routes to enabling ADS-B out for the general aviation fleet have been laid out in AIC 141/2019*. We’ll go on and look at each element in more detail and give some ideas of the options available. As the UK avionics market is constantly changing we can’t, of course, cover every device here, and new ones will no doubt come on sale once the roll-out of EC picks up pace, so it’s always worth a bit of research to see what is the latest available.


The first question here is whether the aircraft you are considering is already equipped with a Mode S Transponder that’s ADS-B capable (also called ‘extended squitter’). With modern Mode S equipment this is likely to be the case, and the transponder will simply need a source of GPS derived position information to be connected.

If you don’t have a Mode S transponder you might want to install one for increased visibility to ATC, in which case fitting a GPS source at the same time would be sensible — most commonly available transponders support this. Integrated units such as the Garmin GTX345 are also emerging and provide a Mode S Transponder with GPS, ADS-B-out and ADS-B in. As with any certified avionics you need to check the approval status for your aircraft and usage. If you don’t have Mode S, and are not planning to do so, or want a ‘carry- on’ solution then the ADS-B transmit function can be satisfied by a stand-alone device which complies with ‘*CAP 1391:

Electronic Conspicuity Devices’. The prime example of this currently is the uAvionix SkyEcho 2, which will both transmit and receive ADS-B, has an integrated GPS and ADS-B antenna and is battery powered for ‘carry-on’ use. Recent CAA rules allow you to use CAP 1391 devices alongside existing transponders, but you must ensure the transponder is not also sending out an ADS-B signal. If you want to provide GPS data to an existing transponder you can achieve this with a certified device such Trig's TN72 GPS Receiver. However the CAA also allow the provision of GPS data from uncertified sources, so if you have existing GPS capability — perhaps from another EC device such as Flarm, PilotAware, or from navigation equipment which can output GPS data, then you can also connect that to your transponder. For General Aviation air-to-air use either form of GPS is suitable, but if you want commercial traffic to ‘see’ your ADS-B position then go for a certified source. While the connection of a GPS to a modern Mode S transponder is normally relatively straightforward, a number of processes need to be followed depending on the airworthiness maintenance regime you’re following.

Either route, a Mode S device with GPS input or a stand-alone CAP 1391 device, will give you the capability to broadcast your position so that you can ‘Be Seen’.

RECEIVE To be able to assess traffic around you the next step is to to ‘See’, so the first stage is to ensure you can receive ADS-B



Devices shown are PilotAware Rosetta, Air Avionics TRS, Garmin GDL 50, LX Nav, SkyEcho 2 and Aboba

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